Conference policy

Conferences, meetings and workshops are important elements of university life for academic and professional staff, and for students. When such events are organised by members of the Imperial  community, whether on or away from one of our campuses, they should be considered an extension of the professional workplace or learning environment and should offer the same protections, opportunities and welcome to all participants.

We therefore expect the high standards of personal and professional conduct, and the commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) that we aspire to as a university. With these goals in mind and following extensive consultation, the College’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Group, chaired by the Provost, has approved a new Imperial Conference Policy (pdf).

The policy document is divided into two parts: (a) a code of conduct and (b) guidance on how to incorporate considerations of EDI in conference planning and participation.

Code of Conduct

We want to ensure that any meeting organised by College staff or students provides a safe and inclusive environment.

The policy requires meeting organisers should publish a code of conduct that includes a strong anti-harassment statement. It should also be made clear that participation is dependent on agreeing to abide by the code of conduct. A template code is provided within the policy document (Appendix 1) to help meeting organisers.

Guidance on promoting EDI in your conference planning

We recognise that within academia there are many groups who are still under-represented among students and staff. One of the ways we can address this is to promote EDI at conferences. We believe this aspiration is fully consistent with the desire of conference organisers to invite the highest quality speakers and discussants in order to be able to offer the richest possible experience to attendees.

There are many different ways to promote EDI at your conference. The guidelines in the policy focus on:

  • Developing and publishing a speaker policy – and committing to making the effort needed to recognise and include the diversity of talent in the academic community
  • Being accessible and family-friendly – thinking through how best to support attendees who are disabled or have caring responsibilities
  • Leading by example – helping to set the standard if you are asked to help organise, attend or speak at a conference

The policy should be used by all members of the College community who are involved in organising conferences, meetings or workshops. It applies to events held inside and outside the university. Given the range of scales and formats of such events, it is not possible to produce a policy that covers every type of meeting or set of logistical and financial constraints. However, the aim of the policy is to make sure that the most important aspects with regard to conduct and EDI feature prominently in the plans of organisers.